Books: A Twiddle on the Fiddle

A PERFECT WOMAN (363 pp.)—/-. P. Hartley—Knopf ($3.95).

Many British critics think that the author of A Perfect Woman is just about a perfect novelist. At 60, Leslie Poles Hartley couples some of the skill and suavity of Somerset Maugham with a show of sympathetic interest, an emotion that Maugham controls to the point of asphyxiation. Hartley's technical aplomb helped to make The Go-Between (TIME, Aug. 9, 1954) one of the most admired novels of its year. In A Perfect Woman he demonstrates with good humor and feline subtlety how many ways there are for an author to tap and bat his...

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